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  1. #1
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    The history of Kodak color papers

    I have gotten many inquiries about the history of films and papers. Here is the only one I had fully documented. It is for color papers made by Kodak from 1941 - 1970. The time spans the entire history until introduction of the blix process. I recently found it in a box, and thought I would share it with you all.

    Photofinisher papers (note: c, m and y refer to coupler changes)

    1941 Type I Kodacolor paper, used CD-2 developing agent
    1951 Type III Kodacolor paper, used CD-2 developing agent new m
    1954 Type 1348 Kodacolor paper, used CD-2 developing agent
    1959 Type 1502, used CD-3 developing agent and new c and y
    1961 Type 1583 new UV absorber
    1963 Ektacolor 20 Type 1852 new m and y
    1965 Ektacolor 20 Type 1870 new m stabilizing agent RC and FB
    1970 Ektacolor 30, 37, no cadmium, mercury, new m and y, RC

    Professional papers

    1946 Type III Ektacolor paper, used CD-2 developing agent
    1954 Type "C" Ektacolor paper, used CD-3 developing agent, new m and y
    1961 Ektacolor Professional paper, new c, m and y
    1963 Ektacolor Professional paper with Type II stabilzer in Ektaprint C
    1970 Ektacolor 30, 37 merge chemistry

    After 1970, further improvements included Ektacolor 70, Ektacolor Plus, Supra I, II, and III papers and now Endura. Reversal papers included the Radiance paper.

    1954 marked the introduction of Type C and Type R papers and the P122 and P121 processes for them. It also marked the conversion from quinone to ferricyanide bleaches and the conversion from CD-2 to CD-3 for lower toxicity. It also marked a new, low pH more stable developer, and the use of benzyl alcohol in the developer. This was also the approximate introduction of the C-22 process to the general public.

    1963 marked the change to the Ektaprint C and Ektaprint R processes which used a Type II staiblizer for better dye stability and also the use of an alkaline fixer. The process moved from 75 degrees to 85 degrees F and the number of steps was reduced by use of the alkaline hardener fix.

    1970 was the introduction of highly stabilzed dyes with no cadmum or mercury in the new emulsions and no ferricyanide in the process. A blix was used for the first time.

    One of the major goals in each step of this growth was to achieve improved dye stability by at least 2x the previous product.

    Professional and photofinisher papers differed mainly in the exposure range and contrast. Photofinisher paper was optimized to slightly higher contrast and for an exposure range of 0.1 - 0.5 seconds, while professional papers were softer in toe contrast and had a slightly pinker bias for better flesh tones in portraits, and to prevent any greenish cast in whites. Professionals preferred a slightly pink or red warmth to very light highligts. This was all done by addenda in manufacturing and the way the emulsions were treated.

    Up until the introduction of P121 and Type R paper, reversal prints were being made at Kodak using the Kodachrome process, but on a white acetate support. These early reversal prints were called Kodachrome prints or Kotavachrome by some. They were marked by a relief image just like Kodachrome film, so the gloss looked strange.

    I hope that some of you find this interesting.

    PE

  2. #2
    dmr
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    I hope that some of you find this interesting.
    Yes, most definitely, PE. Things like this are one of the reasons I like it here.

    Up until the introduction of P121 and Type R paper, reversal prints were being made at Kodak using the Kodachrome process, but on a white acetate support. These early reversal prints were called Kodachrome prints or Kotavachrome by some. They were marked by a relief image just like Kodachrome film, so the gloss looked strange.
    I've always been kind of intrigued by the R prints. Back years ago I had a lot of them made and some of them, amazingly, are still quite presentable.

    Back when I was a poor high school and then college student, most of the color I shot was slides. Main reason, the expense of printing a 20 or 36 roll emptied the pocketbook when all I wanted was maybe 1-3 or so out of each roll, and I could read the slides far easier than the negatives.

    Back then it seemed we had really two options for color processing, one being Berkey, which most of the drug stores and neighborhood photo shops used, which did anywhere from a totally vile job to an almost-OK job. I'm sure there were other options, but if you wanted really nice prints, you got "Processing By Kodak"<tm> and always got a good print. There were no mini-labs back then.

    I usually would take the slides into the old Spiratone shop on 31st. and IIRC they sent them to a Kodak lab over in Fair Lawn.

    The R prints were always nice, and they always had rounded corners of the image area, which if you looked closely were not the image of the slide mount (with all the fuzz and such) and showed some cropping.

    Then one day something kinda hit me. The R prints always had a white border! Think of it, white border on a reversal print. If this were done on the familiar enlarger with the easel, and reversal processed, that border would be BLACK! They obviously had some kind of mask-border exposure step in the process!

    Oh well, sorry for being so long-winded. I guess I just wax nostalgic every so often.

  3. #3
    htmlguru4242's Avatar
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    Very interesting, PE. Bits of photo history are always good to see!

    Out of curiosity, what color negative films were available in the very early 1940s when the first Kodacolor paper was released?

  4. #4
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    DMR;

    The printer for 'R' prints had a special flasher unit to get white borders. Also, for a while, Kodak had a quickie interneg system in which internegs were made from the slide and 'C' prints were made. The internegs were destroyed. You had to request 'KEEP' on the yellow envelope otherwise, then you got a 2x3 internegative. I have a batch of them here.

    HTML; (you ought to change to XML )

    There was a lenticular based Kodacolor film (this might have been neg and pos, or maybe only pos) and an unmasked (silver mask) Kodacolor film back then. I have no further information here, but might look it up sometime in some of my historical notes.

    I have heard of Dufay slides being printed on type 'R' and Kodachrome paper. They were not very good, but it did work. My boss said you could see the screen. He gave me much of this information from his early days at EK.

    PE

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    Fascinating:

    What drove the development of the RA4 process: The desire to eliminate benzyl alcohol ? Shortening the processing time with the advent of minilabs in mind ? or was it just research-led ?

    Henry

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    Henry, the goal was always to have a short color process. RA4 using nearly pure chloride emulsions, and better coupler activity and better dye stability drove the work. Elimination of BZA was always a desire and I spent nearly a year on that single problem alone. We failed back then, and it took about 10 more years of chemical syntheis to achieve the elimination of BZA through production of better couplers.

    PE

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    Thanks:

    I read in one of the early Kodak RA4 patents that they key to making silver chloride emulsions fast enough to use as projection printing paper was the discovery that certain [rare earth - if my memory is correct] metal additives to the emulsion which were initially thought to have an adverse effect on speed actually produced an increase in speed if they were added in astonishingly small amounts.

    Is it be fair to call this a "Eureka!" invention - or just another piece of a big jigsaw ?

    Henry

  8. #8
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    Which patent were you reading? I know several of the researchers on this project. I actually don't remember who did what. If you refresh my memory, I might be able to actually tell you what he said.

    PE

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    Not just interesting but very a propos for me, PE. I have the opportunity to obtain for cost of postage some Kodak Ektacolor 78. I suspect it may be fairly old and was hoping to find it in your history but cannot.

    Any idea of its age? I note that 70 came after 1970 so does 78 refer to the inaugural year of manufacture and if so then for how long might 78 have been produced?

    Thanks

    pentaxuser

  10. #10
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    Very interesting. A history of the process (more in terms of number and type of steps, temperature etc. showing how it evolved than the chemistry details, though others might find that more interesting) might be interesting too.

    I have type R prints I made in high school and college on, I believe, type 2203 or some similar name. I think the previous version was type 1993 and I missed that, so it isn't based on the year, or my memory may be wrong on the numbers. I know I made them in high school though because I sold several landscapes to my senior English teacher. Most of the ones I have now still look really good. A couple have faded, and I've no idea why a few did and most didn't. That would be the early to mid 80s. I preferred the simplified, lower temperature processing of Cibachome but even with the RC paper the stuff cost about $1.50 per 8x10 back then, maybe a smidgeon lower by re-using the chemistry to the max, and I could make a type R on Kodak paper for about $0.50! (By buying paper in 100 sheet boxes and using Unicolor chemistry in the gallon size kits.)

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